Women, fashion and stories are at the very heart of who we are, and we are passionate about the style stories of exceptional women. We simply love fashion books, and our bookshelves are packed with mesmerising tales of high fashion combined with intimate stories of personal style.

In aid of World Book Day, we’re celebrating our top three favourite fashion books, and the must-read stories that are as much about the woman behind the dress as the clothes she wears.

Grace: A Memoir 

After years spent pushing the creative boundaries at Vogue, Grace Coddington shot to public recognition following the release of the landmark fashion documentary, The September Issue. With her iconic flame red hair and impeccable eye for style, Grace captured the public’s imagination and finally satisfied our appetite for all things Coddington with her autobiography, Grace: A Memoir.

Breaking the mould with her unique creative vision, Grace’s life has been as bold and distinctive as her work. Accompanied by delightful illustrations doodled by Grace herself, Grace: A Memoir is an enchanting stroll through the fashion fairytale of this model turned editorial innovator. Deeply moving, even tragic in places, Grace triumphantly guides us through the personal and professional moments that have defined her destiny, and recalls the outfits that accompanied he every step of the way.

Shocking Life: The Autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli 

Coco Chanel called her ‘the Italian artist who makes clothes’, and indeed, Elsa Schiaparelli made fashion an art form. In her lifetime, the inimitable Elsa scandalised and delighted her public with her daring designs and a lifestyle to match, and Shocking Life captures her outlandish life in roaring twenties Paris with sizzling sharpness.

In the words of Yves Saint Laurent ‘she knew everyone from Paris to Hollywood, collaborated with the Surrealists, and left her indelible mark on the world of fashion’. Indeed, Shocking Life reads like a who’s-who of Paris’ greatest residents through a remarkable career that captures the revolutionarily creative spirit of 1920s Paris, celebrating fashion as the greatest form of art.

The Woman I Wanted to Be – Diane von Furstenburg

Diane von Furstenburg; style icon, designer and entrepreneur who single handedly made the wrap dress a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. From her Belgian childhood to the rise and rise of her eponymous fashion empire, The Woman I Wanted To Be is a no holds barred account of the extraordinary life of an inspirational woman.

Part autobiography, part fashion and philosophical manifesto, Furstenburg casts herself as both lifestyle guru and high priestess of style as she shares the pearls of wisdom amassed over a career that has spanned the decades and spawned a fashion empire. Including meditations on such marginalised topics as ageing, inner confidence and body image, The Woman I Wanted To Be is an energetic celebration of womanhood, femininity and style.

Which fashionable reads have defined your style and won a place on your bookshelves? Share your thoughts and images with us on Twitter and Instagram with #womenfashionstories for the chance to be featured on our interactive collage.

By Lara Tutton




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